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Monday, July 31, 2006

Wikipedia - amazing source of information

Have you guys checked out Wikipedia? - the online Encyclopedia. It is such an amazing source of information - from academics to current issues to MBA stuff to sports - you name it and it is there. The best part of this is that it is a community based site and so, the information builds up as more and more people submit content - amazing concept - a perfect example of a Network good.

Check it out - it will definitely turn out to be useful :).

-- Thyaga

Friday, July 28, 2006

Google Scoop - Blogger accidentally discovers new features

A blogger discovered evidence of several new Google features such as Google Events, Google Guess, Google Online Assessment, Google Real Estate Search, Google RS2, Mobile Marketplace, Local and Weaver yesterday that hint at the company's product direction. Read on ...

Wi-Fi network in Mountain View - now, thats NICE :-) !

-- T

Tips for Cooling Off

[Canvas: "Cooling Off" by Donald Curran]

As the world comes to grip with the heat wave that is engulfing America and Europe right now, here are some tips to keep cool during these times. Its amazing how simple these tips are and if done diligently can make us feel more comfortable during these times.

Cool off

-- Thyaga

ICC launches World Cup logo, mascot and schedule

[Copyright: http://www.cricket.org]

ICC has officially launched the World Cup logo, mascot, World Cup trophy

The ICC has officially launched the World Cup logo, mascot, World Cup trophy and also the schedule. This was done in New Delhi yesterday by officials of the ICC and the members of the Organizing committee. The fact that it was done in New Delhi goes to show how important India is as a market for the success of the World Cup. Read on ....

Thursday, July 27, 2006

World Cup ticket bookings close on Monday - July 31st

The first phase of ticket bookings for the World Cup will be over on Monday, July 31st. If you have not yet applied for it, then this is the best chance for you to do so. Details on how to purchase tickets can be found here.

-- T

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Himesh Reshammiya - is he really so good?

First, the facts - out of the top 10 songs in Hindi song countdown today, at least 6 of the songs are composed by Himesh Reshammiya. Even A.R.Rehman during his Roja/Bombay days was not as popular as Reshammiya is today. The last year has seen Reshammiya crunching hits after hits - from Aap Ki Kashish to Aap Ka Suroor to the latest Jhoom Jhoom. Even as I write this, the newer movies today definitely feature a track or two composed by Reshammiya. As if that is not enough, the movies promos nowadays show a heavily bearded Reshammiya along with his trademark baseball cap crooning away on the mike. Of course, that is just to grab your attention - he just draws the crowd - the movie has become a secondary reason now.
Is he really that good?

But that begs the question - is he really that good? - my wife despises him completely. She cannot take that nasal crooning for more than a couple of minutes. I have been a bit adventurous actually - i went ahead and burnt a CD consisting of his hit songs from last year. My theory on music is this - listen to a CD again and again. Then give it a break - if the desire to hear it comes back again, then you know that you like that song. (its similar to the "If you love someone, let them free .... "). With this experiment, I know that I cannot live without listening to the songs of Kishore Kumar and R.D. Burman :). Anyway back to Reshammiya - after listening to him for exactly 3 times, i decided that I have had enough. Its been more than a week and i don't have too much of an inclination to go back to it. Probably now I will because I have blogged about it and so, I might as well listen to it again :).

That still does not discount his success - obviously, people are attracted to his unique nasal / Sufi voice - there seems to be something in his voice that is making people listen and the cash registers ring. For the producers thats what matters. Rehammiya of course, is just lapping it up - he is already set out on his world tour and he will be in the US soon.

If you guys have your opinion on him, feel free to leave a comment.

-- T

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tremendous Heat Wave going on

Since the beginning of last weekend, US and more specifically California has been under a severe heat wave. Over the weekend, temperatures hovered around 105 degrees on average in California - boy! - it was excruciatingly hot. I have never seen it so hot here - probably in India but the humidity factor in Kolkata would probably cool the temperatures a bit. Here, the lack of humidity makes it completely dry and so the heat is "hot and dry" heat - the worst that you can get.

Naturally, the power consumption has gone over the roof and the state is finding out ways to cope up with this increase in power consumption. The one thing that strikes me for sure is that environmentalists are now going to be strengthened in the continuing debate over global warming - Al Gore surely might end up running for the Presidency again :).

Chill out !

Friday, July 21, 2006

From regular tea to instant tea

First, there was regular tea (granules or leaves). You had to heat it in the vessel, add milk and then your tea would be ready. Remember Brooke Bond ads? -
"Paani Ubalo, Patti dalo, Doodh Shakkar milao and aur pee jao ..."

Then came the Tea Bags - remember "Dip Dip Dip and its ready to sip" ? - it saved u the trouble of heating the tea leaves in water. But you still needed to put in hot milk / water

Then came Gold Chai packets - where the step of adding milk was completely removed. You just need to add hot water.

Now comes the next step - the instant tea from IIT Kharagpur. You need to put the tea and water and it will automatically start heating up - amazing stuff indeed. Read on ....

Cheers,
T

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sachin & Mongia return to the Indian team

Sachin and Mongia

[Copyright: Getty Images and http://www.cricket.org]

Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Mongia return to the Indian National team for the triangular tournament in Sri Lanka. While the former's selection was a mere formality, Mongia has been rewarded for some consistent performance in the County circuit. India has been desperately looking for an all-rounder to balance its 1-day team but it is yet to have someone who can do that job on a consistent basis. Mongia might be the answer that India is looking for - he bats well, has been taking wickets regularly in the County circuit and is an excellent fielder. Although he has got his chances in the past, he has not taken full advantage of those. So, this is yet another golden chance for him to cement his place in the side.

The team (from):
Rahul Dravid (capt), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, Ramesh Powar, Ajit Agarkar, Munaf Patel, Rudra Pratap Singh, Dinesh Mongia


Cheers,
Thyaga

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

BCCI, Twenty 20 and Sidhuism

Will tournaments such as these become common fixtures now?

[Copyright: Sussex Cricket ]

Recently, India agreed to participate in the Twenty 20 World Cup to be played in South Africa next year. India was not ready to join this tournament but then there is the pressure of the media, ICC and the rest and India had to succumb to it. I don't know how much change this is going to bring about in India but Sidhu, as usual, had something to say about it:


===

"If one-day cricket was pyjama cricket, then Twenty20 is underwear cricket."

"This cricket is like a burger, you can have it once a week but for a whole meal, you need to return to Test cricket. More than once a week, and it will give you a tummy ache"

===

Cheers,
Thyaga

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE


[Copyright: http://www.northernsun.com/n/s/5151.html]

Another Tsunami has struck the Indonesian belt and more than 300 victims are dead. But this has not even made any news because of the apparent tension going on in the Middle east. Lebanon/Syria/Iran combined to attack Israel and obviously, Israel is attacking them back - situation has become so bad now that some of the politicians are really scared that this could start off another World War - Iran has nuclear weapons and its Prime Minister is more than willing to pull the trigger at any time!

The last few weeks have seen some really tragic events - the blasts in Mumbai, then the bombings in Haifa by Lebanon's rebel group Hezbollah and finally the Tsunami

Can we have some peace now or do we sing : "All we are saying is GIVE PEACE A CHANCE"

-- Thyaga

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mithunism - the religion of Mithun da


Enigmatic Mithun da

If you are born and brought up in West Bengal, then you must know by now - no matter how many angry young man roles Amitabh Bachchan plays and how many chocolate candy roles Shahrukh Khan plays - one man has always reigned supreme amongst all of them - the one and only Mithun Chakraborty a.k.a Mithun da. His movies have always opened to full houses in Kolkata - no matter how bad the movie was. Mithun da, the enigma that he was (is), always had a bumper opening for all his movies.

So, for all you Mithun da fans who grew up dancing to "I am a Disco Dancer", "Jeena bhi kya hai jeena" with the music tapping from Bappi da's magical (but lifted) orchestra, here is something to enjoy - Mithunism :)

Cheers
-T

Mango Pulp - amazing

Over the weekend, we had been to a friend's house and for dessert, he treated me to "Aam Rus" or "Mango Pulp" and it was absolutely delicious. Needless to say, i already bought 1 tin from the nearest Indian store. Here is how it looks just in case anyone of you wants to give it a try - trust me, it is really delicious.


Enjoy!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Department of Toxic Control - California

Over the weekend, we had been to a friend's house whose wife turned out to be an environmentalist. She told us about a website where you can track Toxic wastes in your community in California - you can see the history of what types of chemical factories were there in your area, did the city clean it up or not, when was it done etc. This is extremely useful if you are going to buy a house or rent an aparment and want to make sure that the area is absolutely clean. Needless to say, they are having a tough time buying a house because not many areas in the Bay Area (it is not possible also) is absolutely clean - but nevertheless, it is a good website to know about.

http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/GetInvolved/My_Community.cfm


Cheers,
Thyaga

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Annual Colin Cowdrey lecture (2006) - Martin Crowe


© Alain Lockyer/Somerset CCC

Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand batsman delivered the annual Colin Cowdrey lecture for 2006. Similar to his batting style, his lecture was classy, crisp and immaculate. He makes references to Hawk-eye, Snicko, ICC's laws on chucking (with special reference to a certain Sri Lankan) and finally on including weaker countries such as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

It is a little long but a great read.

Enjoy!
-- Thyaga

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mumbai reeling

Mumbai was hit with another serial blasts - this time on its commuter railway system and that too at peak hours. I feel horrible reading about this - what do people get in taking other's lives and I wouldn't be surprised if it is some fundamentalist religious group that is responsible for this. Knowing Mumbai and its "never-say-die" attitude, I know it will be back to normal soon defying the militants behind the blasts - but it still is a sad day for India.

If u were in Mumbai at that time and want to share ur experience, then please leave a comment.

This is really unfortunate.

Thyaga

Monday, July 10, 2006

Websites on Indian Film Stars -

Just in case you thought that our current Bollywood crop of actors were not tech-savvy, here is something to change your mind - most of them have pretty nifty websites/Blogs while some of them are busy setting them up - that is really "kewl!", I must say.

Ajay Devgan - http://www.ajaydevgan.net/
Aamir Khan - http://www.aamirkhan.com/
Shekhar Kapur - http://www.shekharkapur.com
Anil Kapur - http://anilkapoor.net/
Manoj Bajpai - http://www.manojbajpai.net/
Aishwarya Rai - http://aishwaryaworld.com/

Enjoy!
Thyaga

Video of the Zidane headbutt

Zidane "headbutts" Italy to victory

Italy lift the World Cup for the 4th time
Oh boy! - what a final indeed. Italy won the World Cup for the 4th time and this time, they have more than their team to thank for. Of course, they played very good soccer throughout the tournament - but the final was not at all one-sided. In fact, for the first 110 minutes of the game, it was an enthralling contest with the score tied at 1-1. But then came the turning moment of the match - Zidane headbutted Materazzi and received a Red Card. When i saw that happen, I was in a state of shock - what the heck was Zidane thinking? - why did he lose his head at such a crucial time?. He was playing his last international game, there were 10 minutes to go before the penalties were to begin, he was France's most trusted general for penalties, Italy had a bad reputation in penalties - everything was going perfectly for him - a script tailormade for him to sign off in style. So, why did he do such a foolish thing that will haunt him and his legacy for years to come? - we don't know yet - I am not sure we will fully know what really happened.

The defining moment of the World Cup !

So, did Zidane cost France the World Cup? - i don't want to make such a grand statement but the momentum shifted towards the Italians after that. France was without their talisman, Italy was now playing against 10 Frenchmen who knew that their most trusted general had fallen and more importantly, they had Guffon, one of the best goalkeepers in the World Cup, in the goal and so, they were definitely playing for the penalties. Of course, that is a perfectly fine strategy and in fact, you play to your strength. People only remember wins and not defeats.

Sad end to a Glorious Career

What I felt amazed was what could have caused such a violent reaction by Zidane, a normally shy person. Of course, he has the history of having rushes in blood and a hot temper. So, it is definitely something very serious that must have caused Zidane to react in a manner that put his country's chances of winning the World Cup at stake. The things will be clearer as days go by as to what really happened - but the initial reports suggested that Materazzi said something about his mother and/or about he being "a terrorist" because of his Algerian descent.

Anyway, it is a bitter sweet end to a wonderful month of great football.

-- Thyaga

Friday, July 07, 2006

Krissh - Taking Hindi Cinema to a new level

Krissh - a spectacular movie

We saw Krissh last weekend and I must say that I was very impressed with it. When I went to see it, i thought that it will be filled up with some childish stunts - but what I saw left me with no doubt that this movie will serve as the movie that forever changed Hindi cineam - this has taken Hindi cinema to a new height. Rakesh Roshan's direction and his son Hrithik's acting along with Rajesh Roshan's lilting music all combine to make this a speactacular and entertaining movie and probably one of the best sequels (Koi Mil Gaya) ever made. I don't want to tell too much of the story as it will kill the plot of the movie - just go out there and enjoy it on the big screen. You will know what I mean :).

Cheers,
Thyaga

Lawsuits over Google founder's private plane

What would happen if you were an aviation architect and you had to work 2 of the richest guys in the world who owned a 737 as their private airline and you had to install King size beds in their "private rooms" and hang hammocks from the "ceiling"? - well, you will be flayed with multiple lawsuits by the company which technically owns the airline. For once, the Google founders are in the news for the wrong reason.

--T

Stanford to accept GRE Scores for their MBA program

Stanford has decided to accept GRE scores as well for their MBA program - this is indeed a very interesting and bold move. Millions of people all over the world write the GMAT for admission to the MBA Schools - with this move, it gives these people an alternative way to enter MBA schools. What should be interesting to see is how well Stanford can pull this off - how are they going to rate the difficulty of a GRE exam with that of GMAT? - in other words, whats the relative importance of GRE scores with that of a GMAT score? - is there any difference at all?

Read on ...


-- T

Guess who is in the far left in this photo?

[Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk]

To know the answer, click here

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Customer Service at Factory Brand Shoes ...

Over the weekend, we had gone to Great Mall in Milpitas for buying a running shoe for me. I went into this store called Factory Brand Shoes - a store which carry a good variety of running shoes and a decent variety of sizes. I am loyal customer of Asics and i size if 11 (4e) - not finding it on the shoe rack, I went to ask a customer service agent who was sitting behind the counter. I was shocked by her response - its my lunch time and so, I should come back later and ask her. Boy! - that left me flabbergasted - i never knew that i would have to face such customer service in this country which is so capitalist and so, customers are always considered as kings. Also, I think, she could have told me the same message in a more subtle way. She could have shown some discomfort while answering my question with some reference to her sandwich that she was eating and I could have got the hint.

Anyway, it was the worst form of customer service that one could expect. Do you have any such incidents to share - post your comments.

-- Thyaga

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

ICC Champions Trophy itenary reeks of regional bias

Ever since Mr. Sharad Pawar has taken over the reins of BCCI, the South and the East Zone have hardly got any games. Do you recall any game of importance being played at the Chepauk or the Eden Gardens of late? - hardly any. The Champions Trophy itenary had taken this to a higher level - the matches will be played in the North and West zones of India such as Delhi (the DDCA patronizes Pawar), Mumbai (Pawar's home turf), Jaipur (Lalit Modi's home turf) and Mohali (IS Bindra's home turf).

(Copyright - http://www.cricket.org)
Eden Gardens, Kolkata misses out on a game yet again!

So, for the passionate cricket fans in Chennai and Kolkata, its heartbreak time yet again!

-- Thyaga

Sunday, July 02, 2006

India win the Test Series

(Copyright AFP)
India win the Test Series against West Indies


The India - West Indies series came to an end with India winning the last test match and thereby win the series by 1-0. I think, it was a phenomenal win considering that India last won in the Caribbean in 1971. Also, India's away-win record is not great. Added to that, the Indian team was comprised mostly of youngsters who were just getting their feet wet in International cricket. Rahul Dravid lead the team from the front by performing admirably with the bat - he was the Man of the match for the last test and also the Man of the Series. In the end, it was a great team effort and so, HEART CONGRATULATIONS to the India Team.

Well Played India !

-- Thyaga

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Brazil out of World Cup - disappointed but not surprised !

Brazil was knocked out of the World Cup today by a Zidane inspired France. Brazil could hardly have a shot at the French goal and they looked a pale shadow of the champion team that they were in 2002. I have been constantly saying this that the Brazilians are not playing as a team although they have some superstars in their team. Nevertheless, I feel that they could have had a better strategy against France:
  1. It still beats me as to why youngsters such as Robinho are not introduced during the beginning of the match. He is a dynamite in the field and always creates some interesting moves. He was introduced in the 75th minute in this match and immediately, you could see the changes - he created some tension in the French defence and there were some chances created.
  2. Ronaldinho has looked completely out of form in this World Cup - the form was no way close to his Barcelona form during this year's Champion's league.
  3. Cafu and Roberto Carlos are not the same powerhorse that they were 4 years ago - with age, they have lost a bit of their speed and agility. Its sad but true - its time to give youngsters a chance.
  4. However, age didn't seem to bother the French at all - they always seem to be inspired when they play against Brazil. Once they scored the first goal through a Zidance freekick headed in by Henry, it was Zidane all the way. He was controlling the tempo of the game, making the moves and in general, was making the ball go to wherever he wanted. If this is the form that France are going to show, they have a good chance to enter the finals indeed.
In the end, I must say that I was disappointed after this defeat, but I was not surprised. I think, in the end, the better team won - Brazil has some thinking to do indeed.

-- Thyaga